Yamaha Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Prestigious Young Performing Artist Program

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Music Students from Across the Country and Canada Win Top Honors; Bassoonist Julie Ann Link Named Overall Winner.

The past twenty years of YYPA have given the many young talented musicians a major boost.

Talented young artists from across the country were honored recently as Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, announced the winners of the 2008 Yamaha Young Performing Artist (YYPA) program. 2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the coveted awards.

The YYPA program was designed in 1989 to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. Hundreds of applicants, ages 16-21, apply annually and undergo a rigorous recorded audition process for a panel of national celebrity musicians. The 2008 winners join a total of more than 200 others who have earned the distinction since the program's inception. Many past winners have received scholarships to prestigious universities and conservatories, or are currently playing professionally with major jazz groups and/or top symphony orchestras.

This year's YYPA national awards concert was held on Monday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. at Braden Auditorium on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. The concert kicked off the 2008 Music for All (MFA); the packed audience (over 2000 strong) included music students and teachers from all over the country. The winners were guests of Yamaha for a weekend of rehearsals, master classes, a special awards concert and other social events.

Bassoonist Julie Ann Link was named Overall Winner, based on her live performance as reviewed by a panel of three judges. Link was awarded a $5,000 retail credit, good towards any professional level Yamaha instrument.

"Yamaha has a long history of encouraging and supporting young musicians at every level," said John Wittmann, Director of Education and Artist Services, Yamaha Corporation of America. "The past twenty years of YYPA have given the many young talented musicians a major boost."

The 2008 winners are:

Winner / Hometown / Instrument

Hana Beloglavec / Kalamazoo, MI / Trombone
Eli Bennett / Vancouver, BC / Saxophone
Conrad Jones / Sayville, NY / Trumpet
Julie Ann Link / Dallas, TX / Bassoon
Beatriz Macias / Houston, TX / Flute
Daniel Pingrey / Madison, WI / Marimba & Vibe
Meta Weiss / San Francisco, CA / Cello
Nick Wolny / Galesburg, IL / Horn

Former YYPA winners have gone on to highly successful careers, with highlights that include playing with world renowned musicians, winning international competitions and releasing recordings. YYPA winner Ricardo Morales (1990), for example, began his professional career as Principal Clarinet of the Florida Symphony Orchestra, and is currently Principal Clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Saxophonist Otis Murphy (1994) joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Music in 2001 at the age of 28, becoming one of the youngest faculty members in the history of the esteemed school. Hornist Michelle Perry (1997) served as Principal Horn of the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Flute winner, Jasmine Choi (2004) currently serves as the Associate Principal Flute of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Pianist Aaron Parks (2001) recently signed a solo recording deal with the legendary Blue Note Records.

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, 39 West Jackson Place, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46225; call (317) 524-6270; e-mail jwittmann @ yamaha.com; or visit http://www.yamaha.com/band.

About Yamaha:
Yamaha Corporation of America is the largest subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of musical instruments and audio/visual products to the U.S. market. Products include: acoustic and digital pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio products, and innovative technology products targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music and installation markets.

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Vladimir Lapin
Giles Communications
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